My Year in 1029 Words

2002 has been a busy year, one with strife and tumult and yet tinged ever so slightly around the border with joy and hope. My year was exceptional, beginning with the hint of anticipation and ending with an overflow from the bubbly cauldron of life’s delectable appetizers that seeped down into the crevices between the grill and stove and still needs to be cleaned out.

I awoke on January 1st 2002 refreshed and alert. We had a party the night before that lasted into the wee hours of 11:47 PM the previous day. It was a raucous and yet subdued affair, peopled by guests of all sexes and heights. Each year our hosts come up with a clever theme and we all dress accordingly. The theme this year was “What if you were invited to a New Year’s Eve party and had to dress accordingly.” That one stumped us for the 187 hours that led up to actually going to the party itself. We dressed as New Year’s Eve partiers and won second prize. First prize went to the host and hostess who dressed up as themselves. The first prize was an all-expense paid trip to the kitchen. The second prize, which we took home, was their swimming pool.

We’re always invited to another party on January 1st. It’s a game’s party where everyone gets together and wonders what it’s like to play games with friends. We all call up acquaintances and ask them if they’re having fun. If they are, we all go “oooh” over the speaker phone. If they aren’t, we hang up on them after pretending to be telemarketers.

On January 2nd I decided to quit writing and take up my first love: art. I answered an ad in the LA Times that called for an artist to repaint the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel. Two coats. I sent out my credits, including my High School final project which was a collage of the Grand Canyon made out of rice, and lo and behold, I got the job. My wife and I celebrated with a dinner of wine and cheese and then some more wine. And some more after that. I boarded the jet somewhat drunk, I must admit. It was embarrassing when half way to Italy the pilot got sick and I, sitting in an exit row, was asked to do my elected duty and take over for him. We landed first in Greenland. Then Guam. Then Bolivia, but finally I got us to Rome where I touched down safely in the Trevi Fountain. Although three tourists were crushed while tossing in pennies, it was okay. Luck was with me: that was their final wish.

So I got to the Chapel and began my work. I put a roller on the end of a 300 foot pole and was finished in less than an hour. My wife and I then got back on the plane and head home again. Fortunately, the pilot was fine for the return trip and I was able to watch the in-flight movie, Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo. I never get tired of that movie. No matter what time of day or night it’s on cable I can tune in any place and watch it from that point on.

On January 3rd I realized I should never have quit being a writer yesterday and decided to write the Great American Novel. I put “Gone With The Wind” on the stand next to my desk and began typing it into my computer. By six that night I was done. Writing isn’t hard and when you’re done you have a real sense of accomplishment.

January 4th was a banner day for me. The banner said “Welcome Shriners” and somehow I got tied up in it, how I’ll never know. Several Shriners helped free me from it then promptly beat me up. I deserved it having torn their banner into eight parts, even if it was an accident.

That’s one of the things I learned last year: Take responsibility for your actions. Up until January 4th I paid some homeless guy I found in Newark to take the blame for everything I did. When I gave the President of these here United States the raspberry while he was on a State visit to my pants, Joseph would get beaten up by the Secret Service instead of me. When I led that Revolution in Scotland, Joe was the one who got shot. When I smuggled three year old Tickle me Elmos back to the factories that made them in China, he was the one strung up for going against the new Cultural Revolution which began just that morning. I pay Joe minimum wage, but it could be worse: I could have been the one who got beat up by those Secret Service Agents. They’re really tough, you know.

So, where was I? Oh, right: January 5th 2002. I got an email asking me if I would write a weekly online column for some guy out of Australia, or New Zealand or Poughkeepsie. I told him I was too important for something so mundane and suggested he go to hell instead.

Those early days of January, 2002, were forming the arc that would carry me through the rest of the year. I nailed an axe to the wall in act one and was therefore forced to use it in act four. I planted a clue early on which I forgot about later and so my crime was never discovered. I saw Deuce Bigalow again, but I do that every day anyway. When it came down to it, I saw a singular symmetry that was forming in my life and moved one of the pieces a quarter of an inch to the left in order to make it asymmetrical.

Life, I knew, was going to be good. Maybe not for me, but I was sure it would be good to someone. I just hoped it was a total stranger and not anyone I knew because I could never enjoy knowing someone I loved was happier than me.

Happy Holidays and I’ll see you all in 2003
-Marv Wolfman

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